Intellectual Ventures Aims To Tax Wind Power Producers With New Batch Of Patents

from the because-patent-trollery-is-designed-to-tax-innovation dept

Wind Power Monthly (I had no idea such a thing existed) has an article about how Intellectual Ventures is apparently targeting its patent trollery towards wind power, having filed a bunch of patents on very broad and basic concepts related to wind power. Of course, IV is trying to hide its involvement here by using one of its many shell companies. For reasons that are beyond me, Wind Power Monthly declines to name the shell companies. It’s not clear why it does this — even withholding the name after it got IV to confirm that it’s an IV shell. There seems to be no journalistic reason for withholding the name, but Wind Power Monthly still does it.

Asked about the IV holding company, a spokesperson confirmed its relationship and added: “Intellectual Ventures does file some patents invented during sessions held by its in-house invention group… under the holding company [name withheld] to help maintain its patent portfolio.”

The report further warns that patent trolls appear to be on the lookout to buy up other broad, wind power-related patents on the cheap as this particular market is expanding.

Second or third-tier wind manufacturers may be most exposed to trolls, especially as wind patents are currently relatively cheap, as they are during any downturn. Such manufacturers are a worthwhile target financially, may not have a robust IP strategy, and are far more likely to settle rather than fight in court.

Of course, right now we should be helping to speed up the adoption of alternative energy sources like wind power, but these patent trolling activities do the exact opposite, they make it more expensive. Notice that the article doesn’t talk about any of these methods actually advancing the pace of innovation in the field, mostly because they don’t. These aren’t companies with experience building or managing wind power systems. These aren’t experiences learned in the field. They appear to be pure trolling techniques designed to put a toll on the companies actually innovating in the field.

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Companies: intellectual ventures

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Comments on “Intellectual Ventures Aims To Tax Wind Power Producers With New Batch Of Patents”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Withholding name of Intellectual Vultures shell company

The linked article says:

“The holding company in question is not obviously associated with IV, which could give IV a strategic advantage and avoid patent prices being hiked because of its financial strength.”

So they are duping patent holders and still actively buying patents and striking deals with existing holders in this field as well as concurrently filing their own.

Gotta also love:

“the [IV holding co’s] inventors – some of whom used to work for a major US government laboratory”.

Career advice to self for next reincarnation: “Do taxpayer funded research, retire or leave, cha-ching-ching-ching with all those ideas I kept to myself”

Alien Rebel (profile) says:

Smell a Rat, . . Surprise, a Rat.

Former Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK) and the Nickles Group LLC (the maintenance crew behind the Copyright Alliance), being lobbyists for Intellectual Ventures, are probably very busy people these days. Aside from Don Nickles being on COMCAST’S Time Warner merger strategy team, (NYT, Feb. 20, 2014) his track record probably puts him close to the center of the action with IV’s trolling of wind energy: long-time supporter and lobbyist for oil and gas, a fan of ending tax breaks for wind energy; lobbyist for COMCAST and Koch industries, and former(?) co-chair of the COMPETE COALITION. (Public Citizen has an archived article with less-than-nice things to say about them)- Energy Corporations With Record of Cheating Consumers Form New Lobbying Group to Influence Energy Policy. March 25, 2005.

Oh yeah, former USTR Ron Kirk, pusher of ACTA and TPP, was also a co-chair of COMPETE. Kirk Cutting Close on Lobbying. POLITICO, Jan. 28, 2009.

How far do these sewer pipes go, anyway?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Smell a Rat, . . Surprise, a Rat.

This is flat out proof that the oil and gas industry and their lobbyists are suppressing alternative energies.
I guess it only makes sense. People will keep buying oil and gas, because they will keep making the alternatives more expensive.
Its a shame that the government makes this possible. They are working against themselves here. The EPA pushes alternatives while the USPTO allows others to suppress them.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Something I was taught years ago when I began writing magazine articles is that if there is a specialty or subculture, there is at least one magazine devoted to it. It’s less true now than it used to be (unless you count websites as magazines), but there’s still a huge variety of unusual, very specialized publications.

This was useful and important for me to know because those publications are a writer’s dream — they have a voracious need for content, they have a very well-defined audience, and they usually have a very distinctive voice. All of that together means that it is relatively easy to sell articles to them.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I am aware, through familial knowledge, that Time Inc. experienced an evolutionary step when they realized that they could make 100’s of magazines as easily as 7. This caused a severe left turn in their operations. Life folded, and re-opened as a monthly rather than a weekly, and they launched a whole lot of specialty stuff, among other things. This was significant toward other changes as well, many of which I have personal disgust for.

John says:

“(I had no idea such a thing existed))”

If there is an audience, there will be a publication. I can remember 20 years ago a friend spotting a tabloid-newspaper-style publication in my living room called “Law Technology Product News”, and being amazed that there was a magazine for such a narrow audience (which I happened to be a part of at the time). If there is a market for a product, there will be a publication about that market. Then it was magazines, now it is websites.

Anonymous Coward says:

Nathan Myhrvold

Hello, valued investor. I’m writing to let you know about our exciting new patent on feeding starving children. For too long charities have been stealing our intellectual property, getting a free ride on our hard work. This is why we are sending settlement letters to charities demanding ongoing licensing fees for the use of our intellectual property. The problem, however, doesn’t stop there: as you know, when an end user makes use of infringing technology they themselves are guilty of infringement; therefore, we are proud to announce that we will be suing the children as well for eating the infringing food. Thank you for investing with Intellectual Ventures.

Nathan Myhrvold

Pete Austin says:

Re: “Of course, right now we should be helping to speed up the adoption of alternative energy sources like wind power”

Not really. If alternative technologies produce reliable power at a good price, then obviously we should support them.

But if they mainly convert government subsidies into profits, with intermittent power as a byproduct, then we should not.

IGnatius T Foobar (user link) says:

What's good for the goose...

Although we all hate patent trollery … it’s about time the government-hyped wind and solar industry got hit with some bullying.

Our entire economy depends on affordable energy. That means we need to eliminate *all* obstacles to abundant energy production:

* Innovators in wind and solar need to be free of patent trollery

* Producers of nuclear energy need to be able to proliferate instead of having all their projects blocked

* Distributors of conventional oil/gas/coal energy need to be able to conduct their business instead of getting taxed out of existence by the “global warming” bogeyman.

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